'Lesbian Love Jihad' Sparks Mass Protest in India

Since the “love jihad” conspiracy theories started spreading in India due to the rise of right-wing Hindu nationalism, many Muslim men were targeted in the country for allegedly luring Hindu women into Islam via love and marriage. But in a bizarre plot twist, a Muslim woman was accused of love jihad after allegedly running off with another girl.

Two women, aged 17 and 20, from Bikaner in the northern state of Rajasthan, were reported missing on June 30th. The 17-year-old girl is a Class 12 (equivalent to 12th Grade) student at a private school, while the 20-year-old was a former teacher at the same school.

The 17-year-old girl’s family filed a first information report (FIR) to the police the next day, accusing the teacher and her family of kidnapping and influencing their daughter as part of a plot. Hindu nationalist groups also sparked protests after the disappearance, noting the religious differences between the Hindu student and her teacher, who comes from a Muslim family, and using it as the basis for their 'love jihad' allegations.

The complaint filed by the family accuses the teacher and her family of violating sections of the Indian Penal Code and relevant sections of the country’s Juvenile Justice Act.

When she did not return home on the evening of June 30 from her school, we got worried. We went to her school and found out that not only our daughter but the teacher is also absent from the school. Hence we came to a point that she has been missing,” the family of the 17-year-old student said.

The father of the 20-year-old teacher also filed a missing report to the authorities in Bikaner, claiming that she boarded a bus to the school and left the bus midway while en route to the school. Her family members also said she was engaged to a man living in a neighboring district, and they were set to be married in a few months.

We are equally worried about both. Our family only filed a missing report. But the minor (student’s) family has lodged an FIR against my sons and my daughter, who herself is missing,” the teacher’s father said.

Authorities in Bikaner have launched an extensive search operation to locate the two girls and ensure they will return safely. 

"One of the individuals is a 17-year-old minor. We are actively working to track their whereabouts and establish contact with them. We hope to find them soon," Bikaner police superintendent Tejaswani Gautam said.

The incident led to protests in Rajasthan, and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) criticized the ruling Indian National Congress (INC) and supported the protesters who closed their shops to raise awareness of the issue. Opposition leader Rajendra Rathore visited Bikaner and expressed his support for the protesters.

Our innocent daughters are being brainwashed and kidnapped. The religious conversions are being carried out in the state in garb of love. Our culture is at risk, and they are trying to dilute it. The police should find out the missing girl and hand her over to her family safely,” Rathore said.

But the 17-year-old student allegedly revealed in a video that she and her 20-year-old partner ran away because they feared they would be married off to someone else.

We could sense that the girl’s family has been thinking that I have been kidnapped, but the fact is that we have left our homes by our own choice because we both are in love and want to stay together. We are lesbians, and hence we cannot marry another man as per our family's wishes,” the 17-year-old girl said in an apologetic tone to their parents.

The only reason we ran away was to avoid the family pressure as we are aware of our sexuality. I left my home on my own wish and accompanied her (the 20-year-old teacher). She did not force me at all, and neither did she ask me to make this video. The only reason behind making this video is to clear out the misunderstanding and confusion our families are creating,” she added.

But the 17-year-old girl’s family was not convinced of this explanation, with the girl’s uncle saying, "Our daughter is a minor and has been brainwashed. Of course, we have seen the video, but we don’t believe it. At this point in time, we want her back as soon as possible.

If you like our posts, subscribe to the Atheist Republic newsletter to get exclusive content delivered weekly to your inbox. Also, get the book "Why There is No God" for free.

Click Here to Subscribe

Donating = Loving

Heart Icon

Bringing you atheist articles and building active godless communities takes hundreds of hours and resources each month. If you find any joy or stimulation at Atheist Republic, please consider becoming a Supporting Member with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of tea and a good dinner.

Or make a one-time donation in any amount.